Monday, May 22, 2017
Mending both conservatism and progressivism
I have found conservatives more practical and realistic than progressives, but when conservatives go on to congratulate themselves on not being "ideological" or on avoiding pie-in-the-sky formulations, I think of their heaven as Utopian and ideological as the Marxist goal of one day being "more than we really are."
Progressives make a big mistake in not paying attention to tradition, which follows, or should follow, real human nature. But conservatives make a mistake in not paying enough attention to the Enlightenment, which has gradually and scientifically refined the traditional definition of human nature without rejecting it---at least the science of sociobiology has done this.
Human nature remains kin-centered, gender defined, age-graded, heterosexual marriage-making, hierarchical, ethnocentric, even xenophobic, and religious-making, among other things, with group-selection as the primary unit of successful selection, followed by individual selection. How do ideologies and religions harmonize with real human nature and the biological origin of much of cultural behavior?
Progressive tend to believe that human beings are completely malleable for virtually any social behavior, whereas conservatives believe that human nature is determined to seek non-material spiritual things. The God of conservatives is non-material and spiritual, but the "God" of progressives is also a non-material Idea, and is therefore "spiritual."
Theological materialism uses "progressive means for conservative ends", as someone put it, which is a good definition of conservatism. Conservatives brag that a complex ideological future is not in our hands in answer to progressives who say it is. The reality is some of both. Traditional ideas of Godhood need to be joined with the evolutionary sciences: we evolve in the material world to supermaterial Godhood, and our aiding in that sacred mission is the synthesis of conservatism and progressivism.